RosenMcStern

CHAPTER 2: Skills and Traits

38 posts in this topic

Okay, one backer has already opened the thread for Chapter 1, so that will remain the official thread for character creation. Trif, could you add a capitalised CHAPTER 1 to the title so that it is easy to identify it as a "discussion thread"?

For skills and traits, I will pose a question myself, waiting for others to ask more.

I was thinking about renaming "Athletics" as Agility. Athletics has been the official name since MRQ1, but it is not a great name. Besides, many od the Revolution skills are the equivalent of a BRP/RQClassic skill category (Combat, Knowledge, Stealth, Perception, Magic...), so Agility would fit better than athletics.

The point is that Athletics is currently STR+CON, for reasons of game balance, and calling "Agility" something that had nothing to do with Dexterity sounds definitely unnatural to me.

So the question is double: does the change "Athletics -> Agility" make sense to everyone? And more important, assuming we keep the base score as DEX+CON, how to restore some importance to STR if it does not appear in Athletics?

Furthermore, if anyone has suggestions as to better starting values for skills (Communication as CHAx2, Stealth as DEXx2, etc.) please share them.

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Agility [Brawn, Climb, Jump] doesn't really fit for me.

Athletics [Brawn, Climb, Dodge, Jump, Power Lift] works better.

 

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I have paired all the skills in Skaerune' down to 4 categories and Athletics is one of them. I use (STR + DEX)/2 for the score.

To keep the higher base number concept, I might suggest this: (STR + DEX + SIZ)/2. I am not sure that CON really fits into athletics in terms of pure ability, though stamina certainly does. In that case you could put CON in the mix too, making it an even larger number. If you wanted to keep the number of stats used to a minimum, then STR + CON (though I feel DEX works better instead of CON) would work fine. 

As for better starting values, I use INTx1 for Knowledge and I think using a single stat for a skill category does make sense. At one point I had thought about having seven skill categories with each stat getting its own. I dropped the idea but it is not without some merit. 

 

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I'm tempted to propose INT+WIL for ride. It is more a question of feeling the mount's reactions and mood and subtly impose you will to have it trust and listen to you. So it involves interaction and communication rather than raw aglity. Anyway would be WIL better than CHA, except may be for intelligent mounts.

The 2-pence advice of a part-time rider.

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I'm with Soltakss on this: Athletics seems a better fit with those skills.

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Athletics sounds better.
 

If you want to use agility maybe you need to split dex activities from CON like the diferrence between a swimingpool jump competition and swing accros the dardanelles.
Using one single skill for physical activities will be (str+con+dex)/3*2... :-p

About ride i like use INT+WIL unless wild you try to ride a wild animal on a "Rodeo".

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1 hour ago, xalabin said:

About ride i like use INT+WIL unless wild you try to ride a wild animal on a "Rodeo".

Could also even be a communication trait instead of a skill. But it may disturb other rules using it as skill (e.g. what to do with the [Mount] Trait then ?).

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Uhm, Ride as a trait sounds excessive. But I agree it is WIL and not CHA. The DEX component cannot go away, though. Perhaps DEX+WIL could be more appropriate.

Athletics cannot be DEX+STR or it will be a clone of Close Combat.

So with

Athletics -> DEX + CON

Close Combat -> DEX + STR

Communication -> INT + CHA

Concentration -> INT + WIL

Perception -> INT + WIL

Ride -> DEX + WIL

Survival -> INT + CON

we have CON and WIL with two or three skills, but STR and CHA are only useful for one application.

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2 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

 

Athletics cannot be DEX+STR or it will be a clone of Close Combat.

.

Is that a problem ? Craft, drive, operate and pilots are clones. Perception and Knowledge as well. Close combat is anyway an athletic activity. Or you may split Atheltics in two different skills, one based on craft the other one on agility ?

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On 12/1/2015, 9:42:35, RosenMcStern said:

we have CON and WIL with two or three skills, but STR and CHA are only useful for one application.

Communication could be CHA x 2; I know a lot of high intelligence folks who aren't so great at communicating. :)

Athletics could be STR + CON.

That's a little more balanced. Maybe not as realistic as you want, since DEX is probably involved in Athletics, but you're going to have to make a decision about whether realism, balance, ease-of-play, or crunchiness is most important. 

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Communication includes Traits like Insight or Deceit, which are definitely INT-based skills. CHA is required to send information, INT to receive ans handle it.

BTW Paolo, is there a -provisory- list of all the traits ? It would be easier than searching for them in each skill.

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I think that it becomes mandatory to resurrect the Perform skill (CHA *2) as opposed to the Communication Skill (INT+CHA). After a couple iterations with the bard and other "communicative" professions, it becomes clear that the Communication skill always has its slots filled at once, and this is a clear sign that it needs be split.

Now the point is "What Traits to link to Perform to make it a useful skill". We might assign Oratory to Perform as in the BGB, and this is ok. Dance, Sing and Play [instrument] are clearly performance, as is Acting and Reciting Sagas. Perhaps Disguise might become a Perform Trait? It is related to acting, after all. Does Deceive make sense as a "performance", either?

Reasoning on the same line, does it make sense to have
Agility -> CON + DEX (Acrobatics, Catch, Dodge, Take Cover, Throw)
Athletics -> CON + STR (Brawn, Climb, Jump, Running, Swim)?
 

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Deceive is IMHO definitely a perform Trait, but you may include it into the Acting trait.

Agility : it makes sense to split from Athletics. STR+DEX ? Or DEXx2 ? It is not a long-lasting activity, so I'm not sure about CON. But this is a detail.

Increasing the number of skills incrases the number of available slots and decreases the cost for learning them, too. How far does it change the balance, if it does ?

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Duplicated traits:

There is some traits that maybe are duplicated:

- 1 hand / 2 hands trait: To need two traits for completly use for a shortspear or half and one sword i think are excesive. I propose use a trait for weapon like ranged / close combat example (dagger) so if you have shortspear you can use it with one or two hands and throw it.

- infiltrate and sneak: Redundant, when you do one of this you will do the other 99% of times.

If all of this remains separated traits there will be split engineering to :-p

 

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1 hour ago, xalabin said:

Duplicated traits:

There is some traits that maybe are duplicated:

- 1 hand / 2 hands trait: To need two traits for completly use for a shortspear or half and one sword i think are excesive.

I would agree with you from a gamesy point of view, but the Exquisite Mr. Nash has told me that the footworks and basic manoeuvering for 1h and 2h use is extremely different, and he is a master of arms, so the distinction between 1h and 2h does make sense in real life, it seems.

Quote

- infiltrate and sneak: Redundant, when you do one of this you will do the other 99% of times.

Hmm, in fact it could become a suggested stunt.

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I understood infiltrate as beeing able not to be noticed, like everybody could see or hear you but nobody takes care of your presence, may be mixed with some hiding skill. I may have misinterpreted it.

Speaking about stunt, where in the rules is clearly defined what it is ? I may have missed something and it is not completely clear to me.

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1 hour ago, RosenMcStern said:

I would agree with you from a gamesy point of view, but the Exquisite Mr. Nash has told me that the footworks and basic manoeuvering for 1h and 2h use is extremely different, and he is a master of arms, so the distinction between 1h and 2h does make sense in real life, it seems.

Hmm, in fact it could become a suggested stunt.


I'm agree that are different manoeuvering, but when you learn the use of some weapon you learn it all, what's the sense of carry a bastard sword if you can't jump from one hand to two techniques? Same for shortspear, the first you learn is to made a stab but maybe if you have a little more time you learn to use spike like a staff.

If you think that you are learning the use of one or more weapons on a school has sense to pay a complete new trait for one or two hands?

Why not for throw weapons? in fact throw a dagger versus wield it is a very different hability.

Edited by xalabin
Some ortotypograhpic mistakes

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On 4/12/2015, 17:11:25, Zit said:

Speaking about stunt, where in the rules is clearly defined what it is ? I may have missed something and it is not completely clear to me.

No, you have not missed anything. "Clarify the concept of stunts across the chapters" is at the top of my "to do list", so I am aware that there is a problem.

 

On 4/12/2015, 18:05:33, xalabin said:


I'm agree that are different manoeuvering, but when you learn the use of some weapon you learn it all, what's the sense of carry a bastard sword if you can't jump from one hand to two techniques? Same for shortspear, the first you learn is to made a stab but maybe if you have a little more time you learn to use spike like a staff.

If you think that you are learning the use of one or more weapons on a school has sense to pay a complete new trait for one or two hands?

In order to effectively use a bastard sword with such flexibility, then, you need two Traits. The same goes for using a sword with a fencing technique: you need one or possibly more stunts to fully employ the wider array of dueling manoeuvres a sword allows. This is intentional, as mastery of the sword, with all of its cultural techniques, requires more dedication than, say, being able to use an axe in battle.

The problem here is how the system is designed. Some highly refined combat schools (japanese and Euro Renaissance swordsmanship) may be an exception to this rule, but the core concept of the system is that you need a Trait for each "mode" of a weapon. If you attended a martial school that teaches flexible techniques in that weapon, this fact is modeled by your character acquiring different Traits.

The actual number of stunts you need to learn to use the various "modes" of a weapon depend on the setting and the group. It is something akin to "designing Combat Styles" in (the late) RQ6: you could and should adjust it to your tastes, with the core rulebook only providing a recommended configuration of base traits and additional modes (aka stunts).

The current recommended configuration is:

  • axes, hammers and maces have only two modes, 1h and 2h (special techniques like using the bec de corbin to impale are included in the trait)
  • spears and polearms have 1h and 2h modes only, too
  • swords have 1h and 2h modes, and usually have at least one stunt that is taught for that kind of sword (stab, keep distance, etc.)

Your game world may vary.

Quote

Why not for throw weapons? in fact throw a dagger versus wield it is a very different hability.

True. The current version of the rules recommends to swap the Trait freely from Ranged to Close combat, which may be fine for highly cinematic play but is not so realistic. It might be better to change the default to "two different traits", and treat the throwing technique as a stunt, thus requiring mastery of the melee techniques before learning how to throw.

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Another important point: Smiorgan has recently opened the can of worms that the "experience check" has represented in the tradition of BRP derivatives. In this camp, I am absolutely with him and I am not afraid of "tick hunters", as it is extremely easy to phrase the rule in a form that is not prone to player abuse: "If failing the roll may have consequences on the story, it is eligible for an experience check." No powerplayer can circumvent this rule by putting his character in an artificially stressful situation: if you pick a tavern fight completely unrelated to the adventure to gain a tick in brawl, dodge and other skills you would not use in a "main" combat, the GM can still deny the skill improvement, no matter if you risked some bruises in the fight.

However, you may have noticed that RD100 uses the Improvement Point method, and not the experience check. The reason for this is that with only 15 skills and rules that encourage creative usage of them, most characters would end a scenario with at least 10 out of 15 skills ticked. Just consider that being attacked with a spell makes you roll Concentration, possibly more than once per attack: the chance of getting a tick are quite high.

That said, using a hybrid system - at least as an option - would not displease me. Boxes for skill checks are already there on the character sheet. Here are some possibilities:

  • allow only ticked skills to benefit from improvement points; if there is no tick, you need to research (as in the current form of the rules);
  • only ticked skills benefit from an automatic improvement of 1 point if you roll under your skill;
  • each tick represents a "free" improvement point you get at character improvement time, to which you must add at least one point from the pool granted by the Narrator.

Comments on this? Other suggestions?

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I'm ok with all your proposals, incl. the current rule. Alternatives could be :

1 - increase the cost for unticked skills, like x2 points for unticked skill.

2 - increase the gain for ticked skills and decrease it for unticked (which is almost the same as above), like 2d4 resp 1d4.

These alternatives makes it lighter to manage and can still be combined with the research time.

 

It took some time for me to understand why this "complicated" way to roll the skill increase in the current rules. I understand it as being aimed at never wasting an improvement point and allowing a faster increase for low skills. I would however make it simpler : roll over current skill => 2d4 (or whatever) increase. Roll under current, => 1 point increase.

Cost : increasing the improvement points is aimed at making it more difficult to improve higher skills. Rolling over the current skill as well. The former is bookkeeping, the latter is statistical. But both do the same : may be you can remove one of them.

At the end, my alternate proposal could be:

- 1 improvement point for ticked skill or 2 points for an unticked skill allow for and improvement roll, whatever the skill level

- roll over the current skil : 1d4 (1d6 or 1d4+1 or what you like) skill increase. Or why not a invariable number (like RQ2's 5%) : after all, what does it really bring to have a random increase ?

- roll under current skill : 1 increase

Question : shall a ticked skill stay ticked over sessions until it is increased ?

 

But as I told, the other solutions are ok as well.

 

 

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I think the first method described is the best of both worlds. The GM awards Improvement Points based on plot objectives achieved, and the player can choose which skill from the ticked boxes to spend it on without having to do training/research.

Nice. I really like this approach.

Edited by Mankcam

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49 minutes ago, Mankcam said:

I think the first method you describe is the best of both worlds.

Despite my suggestions, which were no more than that, I agree with you. However, since several improvement rolls are allowed for a single skill, I'd limit the "ticked skill free improvement" to one single chance (learning through experience). Further improvement shall be through training as well.

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Paolo, I have a couple of questions, due to a lack of testing from my side. I'm guessing the answers, but I'd like to ask the designer:

- how does the Traits system avoid the D&D syndrom with each profession allowing a list of traits, like classes and specififc skills in D&D, leading to stereotyped characters (the question arose for bards in another topic)? One of the "trade mark" of D100 is that any character can train in almost any skill.

- when acquiring new traits, you start at least at the same level as the other traits of this skill. So a Swin specialist for example may acquire the Brawl trait and become on the spot a Brawl specialist as well. There is no intermediate level for Traits.

- there is no way to train in a single trait, so all traits belonging to the same Skill are trained together.

Can you explain the logic behind all this ?

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